Fight against pollution

The unstoppable prominence of citizens in urban services

17 of December of 2015

Ferrovial Services is participating as a global partner in Smart City Expo World Congress 2015, which is being held in Barcelona this week.

Cities in the developed world will continue seeking ways to reduce expenditure on urban services, even if the economy improves. However, we are beginning to see cases where spending cuts also reduce service quality.

Improve efficiency, citizen experience and sustainability

In this context, the question that forward-thinking cities are asking is: How to improve efficiency, citizen experience and sustainability, all at the same time? These cities have already concluded that the answer is to transform the way in which urban services are delivered.

The next question is: Is it possible, and economically viable, to transform urban services? At Ferrovial Services, we think the answer to both questions is “Yes”.

The current design of urban services contemplates minimal involvement on the part of citizens, who want to play a decisive role in the management of their city. This situation results in an emotional disconnect on the part of citizens, something that is only partly addressed by information and awareness-raising initiatives.

The solution is to redesign services from scratch and incorporate a new ingredient: connectivity between the city, the citizens and the service provider.

The following video shows Ferrovial Services’ approach to urban innovation:

Going one step farther, our research into the service delivery models of the future concludes that they can be more financially efficient than existing approaches. The improvements arising from the smart use of information make up for the higher initial investment.

If the new models are possible and feasible, cities will soon be asking themselves: How to implement these new citizen-centric service models?

Imagine the following process for procuring the next generation of urban services:

• After consultation with citizens, the city defines the strategic objectives that the service must attain and provides access to urban information.

• The city asks service providers for innovative models to meet the objectives.

• Service providers define their solutions in partnership with their urban innovation ecosystem.

• The city selects the best solution, taking into account factors such as functionality, evolutionary capability, technological robustness and execution risk.

• The city and the service provider agree to cooperate on R&D in the framework of the contract.

This is clearly a departure from the traditional approach and will require new relationship models between stakeholders in the city space and an appropriate regulatory and financial framework. If citizens want it, then it’s not a choice: it’s going to happen sooner or later.

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